THE 24-member Philippine Senate has passed on third and final reading local bills that seek to rename or convert seven state colleges into universities in various parts of the country.
These educational institutions are in the provinces of Abra, Agusan del Sur, Basilan, Camarines Sur, Davao de Oro, Occidental Mindoro and Surigao del Sur, according to Senator Joel Villanueva.
Senator Villanueva, chairman of the highly-influential Senate committee on higher and technical-vocational education, said the seven local bills were passed on third and final reading on May 24.
Villanueva described the approval of the proposed pieces of legislation as “timely and relevant,” pointing out that it will benefit the people in the seven provinces, four of them in Mindanao.
He said that converting state colleges into universities will empower them to expand curricular offerings to include medical and allied courses in the implementation of the “Doktor Para sa Bayan Act.”
In the view of various quarters, the raging coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has thrust outfront the need to produce more medical doctors, nurses and medical technologists.
At present, many public and private hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other areas teeming with COVID-19 patients lack health professionals, notably physicians and nightingales.
Last May 18, the Philippines celebrated the first “National Higher Education Day” as mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 11522.
There were virtual elections led by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), but the emphasis was placed on trying to understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education.
Without doubt, the Senate is on the right path in passing the seven local bills and supporting efforts designed to alleviate the impact of the pandemic to the higher education sector.